Ana Egge was born in Estevan, Canada but seems to have led a nomadic lifestyle moving around a fair few places in The United States. This existence may have given her the wealth of life experiences that she is able to draw on for her wonderfully narrative song writing.
Anna has a superb new album `Is It The Kiss`, her eleventh and is heading around the UK in support of it. Tonight, she arrived at the Kitchen Garden Café on the first of those dates and she and her producer and multi-instrumentalist Alec Spiegelman almost sprint down the stairs of the venue to the stage to start the show.
Understandably the first three numbers are from this release with the seductive `Stay the Night`, heart wrenching `Hurt A Little` and the superb `What Could Be`. The chorus of “How do we love? We dream of what could be.” Is a line that really gets into your subconscious. The songs are enhanced with the subtle tones of Alec`s bass clarinet.
The singer arrived in time to enjoy a walk in Highbury Park and shares that she loved the flowers and along with her love of Dolly Parton, she imparts a cover of Parton`s `Wildflowers`
A couple of early tracks are shared with `Dreamer` from the album “Bright Shadow” and `Bully Of New York` from “River Under The Road” A song written about Ana`s father `Badge Of Iron` follows with the title track of her previous album `White Tiger`
The first set concludes with three further numbers from the latest release with a cover of Diana Jones’s `Ballad Of The Poor Child` with Alec filling in for Iris Dement, the literally breath-taking recital of `Oh My My` and `Cocaine Cowboys` a laid-back country-folk song.
After a short intermission Ana and Alec return and open the second half with `Teacake and Janey` based on the 1937 novel `Their Eyes Were Watching God` by African American author Zora Neale Hurston. A tragic romantic tale with a chorus of “when you gonna break my heart” which will almost reduce you to tears. A couple more tracks from “White Tiger” with `Be With You` and the quirky `Girls, Girls, Girls` are aired with the melancholic `James` and `Hole in your Halo` a song inspired by a visit with a mentally ill relative in prison, sandwiched between.
Like us all Ana despairs with politicians and feels that music has a vital role to play in bringing people together and plays the inspirational `We Are One` before closing out the show with a song dedicated to her daughter who is back home in the US with `Dance Around the Room With Me` which has this intimate audience singing along.
It`s not long before Ana returns and plays a stunning version of Rock Me (Divine Mother) with just an acoustic guitar and no microphone. Alec also returns and the duo close out the evening with `Rise Above` a song that relates to overcoming prejudice be it xenophobia, homophobia or discrimination. Again, this enthusiastic audience join in.
This singer song writer has the ability to share an optimistic message in her songs but at times she can really rock you to the core with not only her lyrics but vocal delivery. It`s obvious as to why other contemporaries such as Steve Earle are fans, This was a wonderful night in a setting that really suited this artists’ talents but as much as I love this venue, she deserves to be playing to a much wider audience.